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August 21, 2019     The Aberdeen Times
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August 21, 2019
 

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rdeen Times August 21, 2019 by Melinda Myers You have waited all season for that first red ripe tomato only to discover less-than-perfect fruit. But don't worry, you can still have a great harvest this year while improving things for next season. Blossom end rot is a common problem. It's due to a calcium deficiency of- ten caused by fluctuations in soil moisture, often .seen on the first set of fruit and those grown in containers. Adjust your watering 'and mulch the soil to help keep it consistently moist Have your soil tested be- fore adding any calcium fertilizer Further reduce the risk of blossom end rot by avoiding root damage when staking and cultivat- ing your garilen. Eliminat- ing some of the roots limits the plant's ability to absorb water and nutrients. And, don't use ammonium forms of nitrogen prior to or dur- ing fruit set. Fortunately, it is safe to eat the firm red portion of the tomato. Since this is a physiological and not disease or insect problem, you can cut off the black portion and toss it into the compost pile. Cracked fruit are also common in the garden. Fluctuating temperatures, moisture and improper fer- tilization result in irregular development of the fruit that results in cracking. You can't change the weather, but you can reduce the risk of this problem with thor- ough, less frequent water- ing to encourage deep roots. And just like blossom end rot, mulch the soil to keep it evenly moist and be sure to avoid root damage. Several fungal diseas- es such as early and late blight, septoria leaf spot and anthracnose, can cause spots on the leaves and fruit of tomatoes. Minimize the problem by rotating your plantings whenever possi- ble. Move your tomatoes to an area of the garden where unrelated crops, such as beans, lettuce or onions, were grown last season. Mulch the soil to help keep soil borne fungal spores off the plant. Wa- ter early in the day, and if possible, apply the water directly to the soil with a soaker hose, drip irrigation or a watering wand to re- duce the risk of disease. Properly space and stake or tower the plants for better air circulation and remove susceptible weeds and volunteer toma- to plants to further reduce the risk of these and other diseases. Always clean up and dispose of tomato and other disease-infected plant ma- terial in the fall. Cultural practices and growing the most disease-resistant va- rieties available are often enough to keep these dis- eases under control. As a last resort you may choose to use a fungicide. Select one labeled for food crops and apply at the first sign of the disease. Repeat applications are usually needed. Be sure to read and follow all label directions carefully whether using or- ganic, natural or synthetic fungicides. Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gar- dening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda's Gar- den Moment TV and radio segments and her website, www. MelindaMyers. com, features gardening videos, podcasts, audio tips and monthly gardening check- lists. Lawns require plenty With the hotter weather the area has been experiencing, the lawns require plenty of water. If a person, looks at any one residence, chances are they will see the sprinkler going on the lawns and gardens. That is the price that From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: If the world is rtinning out of freshwater, why aren't we desalinating more Ocean water? H. Smith, Providence, RI The protagonist of Blossom end rot appears as a big black spot on the bottom of to- matoes and is caused by a calcium deficiency. Photo credit: Me- linda Myers, LLC I, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1798 lyrical ballad The Rime of the Ancient Mari- ner proclaims: "Water water everywhere / nor any drop to drink" as his ship drifts through Antarctic seas with no land or fresh water in sight and the crew slowly dying of thirst. A fitting al- legory for our modem age. Indeed, we're in that same boat today given that salty oceans cover 70 per- cent of the Earth's surface while freshwater becomes increasingly scarcer due to human overpopulation and climate, change. Globally some 700 million people lack access to clean wa- ter while droughts are the norm in many regions. Stepping up desalina- tion, that is. filtering salt out of-seawater to make it potable, seems like an obvious solution. But the two most common tech- niques, reverse osmosis, pushing seawater through membranes to separate the Salt; and distillation, boil- ing seawater and collecting the resulting salt-free water needs to be paid to have a green, full lawn during the hot summer months. Everyone should enjoy the green grass and the heat because it won't be too long before the weather turns cold and the grass turns brown Earth Talk Don't think of retiring from the world until the world will be sorry that you retire. I hate a fellow whom pride or cowardice or laziness drives into a comer and who does noth- ing when he is there but sit and growl. Let him come out as I do, and bark. ---Samuel Johnson I The deadline for submitting to The Aberdeen Times is each Friday at 5 p.m. for the next Wednesday's edition. All advertising, classified advertising, press releases, news tips, obituaries, and announcements need to be into TheTimes office BY 5 P.M. on Fridays to be Considered. If there is a holiday on a Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, or a Friday, the deadline is Thursday at 5 p.m. We reserve the right to reject any and all content submitted after the deadline. Aberdeen Times vapor, both require costly amounts of energy and in- frastructure. They also cre- me a lot of potentially toxic "brine" as waste that can kill crops and other vegeta- tion and render groundwa- ter too saline to drink, not to mention negatively alter the chemistry of the ocean. Currently the world's 18,000+ desalination plants pump 140 billion liters of brine into terrestrial hold- ing pits or back into the ocean every day. Ngai Yin Yip and his team of environmental en- gineers at Columbia Uni- versity think their alterna- tive method "temperature swing solvent extraction" (TSSE) can fix the prob- lems of leftover brine, in turn making the desalina- tion process cleaner and more efficient. TSSE uses a solvent that reacts to inex- pensive low-grade heat to extract freshwater as effi- ciently as RO or distillation at a fraction of the cost. Another promising al- ternative as pioneered by Penn State engineer Bruce Logan and colleagues is called battery electrode deionization (BDI), in which salty water is routed into channels with elec- trodes designed to capture salt ions and divert fresh- water and salt accordingly. BDI is still in the research and development phase, but researchers hope it can eventually become a useful alternative to reverse os- mosis or distillation. But even these alterna- tives may be less desirable than leaving ocean water alone and focusing instead on conservation and recy- cling of existing flesh wa- ter supplies. The non-profit Pacific, Institute reports that stepping up conservation and efficiency measures already in place in water- wise regions like California could reduce annual water use in urban areas by as much as 57 percent. Mean- while, recycling (and treat- ing) freshwater and making a bigger effort to capture stormwater run-off could produce enough drinking water to quench Los Ange- les' thirst two times over. Given the magnitude of the problem, we need to embrace all forms of increasing our supplies of freshwater, whether they involve old-school meth- ods like recycling or new- fangled approaches like technology-enabled desali- nation. Earth Tall is pro- duced by Rod@ Scheer & Doug Moss for the 501(c)3 nonprofit EarthTalk. See more at https://emagazine. com. To donate, visit ht- tps : //earthtalk. org. Send questions to:question@ earthtalk.org. (208) 397-4440.31 S. Main St. Aberdeen, Idaho 83210 P.O, Box 856 31S. AL41H o P.a. BOX 856 timesl@dcdLnet The Aberdeen